The Team


Nina2Executive Director: Nina Thompson brings 20 years of entrepreneurial and business-consulting experience to her role. Experienced in community organizing, project management, political campaigns, and organizational development, she worked for a large-scale event production company before moving to Vermont and co-managed multi-million-dollar breast cancer awareness events in Chicago, New York, LA, and San Francisco. Nina drew her vision for the Wake Up to Dying Project from her hospice volunteer work and Zen meditation practice.

Contributing Artists

EricStory Producer: Erica Heilman is a Vermont resident and documentary radio producer. Her work has aired on NPR’s Day to Day, Hearing Voices, SOUNDPRINT and on major public radio affiliates across the country. She also produces a regular podcast, Rumble Strip Vermont, at She has taught all aspects of documentary production through the Vermont Folklife Center in Middlebury, Vermont. Prior to her work in audio, Erica worked in documentary television in New York City. She produced programming for WNET, HBO and ABC News.

Board of Directors

JBondHeadshot1Julie Bond is an independent planning, development and operations consultant with a passion for health and medicine, with a particular interest in how they intersect with the media. As a board member of The Wake Up to Dying Project, Julie brings a wide spectrum of experience in fundraising and development, project management, and media production. Julie holds a Bachelors degree in International Studies and Human Development from Colby College and a Masters degree in Policy, Planning and Administration from Boston University. With a background in media, community development and academia, it was the innovative approach of using audio stories to engage people directly that drew Julie to the Project.
Julia C headshotJulia Chafets is a social worker, educator and new mom. As a board member for the Wake Up to Dying Project, Julia brings her training in Dialogue Education, which uses adult learning theory to design interactive, engaging learning experiences. Julia is particularly excited about the ways in which the experiential components of The Wake Up to Dying Project can help us explore new inroads to a topic that can feel inaccessible and overwhelming. Her experience being a new mom while serving on the board has made her consider both the fragility and beauty of life in a way that is simultaneously terrifying and empowering, and profoundly impacts her approach to parenting.
AnnieCrawford_lowresAnnie Crawford is passionate about the art and science of consciousness and studies how awareness and human-ness intersect. Professionally, Annie brings her knowledge of fundraising, nonprofit governance, and finance to the board of the Wake Up to Dying Project. After attending the exhibit in 2015, Annie was attracted to the powerful synergy this project captures between the emotional and practical aspects of thinking about, witnessing, and preparing for death. Annie is currently the Director of Operations at Vermont Works for Women.
Jodi V. bio head shotJodi Vilardi is a nurse who works closely with the elderly and with people in the last phase of their lives. As a board member of The Wake Up to Dying Project, Jodi brings a background in hospice work and a deep compassion to support the strategic goals of the organization. Jodi is currently a Wellness Nurse for Support and Services at Home (SASH) in Barre, VT, with a mission to improve the quality of life for seniors through personalized coordinated healthcare. She proudly sings with Carolyn’s Angel Band, a hospice choir in Central Vermont.
Wheeler,ClaireClaire Wheeler is a freelance consultant for sole practitioners, community-based businesses and non-profits. As a consultant with the Wake Up to Dying Project, Claire brings her passion to translate the creative genius of people and organizations into systems and structures that return value, efficacy and sustainability. Before consulting, Claire worked for ten years in the environmental non-profit sector and has also earned her keep by knocking on doors, harvesting vegetables, and selling kites. She is thrilled to work with The Wake Up to Dying Project because she believes that speaking our truth and following our passion are essential elements in building a world that is more alive.

Video demo credits:

Interviewer – Erica Heilman, Editor – Larry Massett, Videographer – Zohar Kfir, Music – Jesse Atkins, Sketch Artist – Missa Aloisi, Designer – Flor Diaz Smith, and Producer – Nina Thompson